2023 Steelers Exit Interviews: Dan Moore Jr. and Mason Cole
The Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL season has come to a close. Because the Steelers are among the 31 teams who did not finish fulfilling their ultimate goal, they are in the process of wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2024.
Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all their players, and the fact I have done these articles in the past, we thought we would do the same here at Steel Curtain Network. By outlining two players each day, we will be able to look at their season in retrospect as well as looking toward the future. Since Coach Tomlin has previously stated he starts his interviews with rookies and those heading into free agency, we will attempt to do the same to some degree. To start, we will pair the most recent draftees with another player at the same position (if possible) as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.
Next up are offensive linemen Dan Moore Jr. and Mason Cole.
Dan Moore Jr.
Position: Offensive Tackle
Years with the Steelers: 3
Years in the NFL: 3
Contract Status: Signed through 2024
Contract Details: $1,229,475 salary cap hit for 2024. Would cost the Steelers $174,475 in dead money if released and save $1,055,000.
Games played in 2023: 16 regular season
Games started in 2023: 16 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 953 (offense), 55 (special teams)
PFF score: 54.3 (63rd of 81)
Notable stats: During the regular season, Moore had 5 accepted penalties credited to him. Moore had no false starts, 2 accepted holding penalties, and as many as 3 were him being uncovered on the end of the line of scrimmage (not his responsibility).
Notes: Dan Moore saw some improvements in a few things in 2023. First, he severely cut his number of penalties. Additionally, according to PFF, he improved his run blocking. But Moore is still inconsistent with his pass blocking, sometimes based on the quality of his opponent. Entering the last year of his rookie deal, Moore is technically another player eligible to receive an extension. But when it comes to him, it might be something where the Steelers see how things play out in free agency or the draft. As much as they seem to like Moore, he is playing a spot which should be taken over by Broderick Jones in the next two seasons or less with the other tackle position in need of an upgrade. Having Moore under contract for one more season as a safety net is convenient, but the Steelers simply need better play at the position and after three seasons it’s tough to think that Moore is going to take a huge step.
Years with the Steelers: 2
Years in the NFL: 6
Contract Status: Signed through 2024
Contract Details: $6,271,668 salary cap hit for 2024. Would cost the Steelers $1,521,668 in dead money if released and save $4,750,000.
Games played in 2023: 17 regular season
Games started in 2023: 17 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 1071 (offense)
PFF score: 53.2 (29th of 36)
Notable stats: During the regular season, Cole had 3 accepted penalties credited to him. Cole had 1 false start, and 2 accepted holding penalties. Cole was also credited with one fumble.
Notes: The Steelers did not get good enough play from the center position in 2023. Exactly how the Steelers should remedy the situation is debatable. If the Steelers are looking at the 2024 NFL draft for their future at center, holding onto Mason Cole for the time being as a bridge in case a rookie is not ready in time to start the season could be a possibility. The Steelers could also look to free agency at the center position. The bottom line is it does not appear that Mason Cole is a long-term solution at the position and the $4.25 million potential cap savings is something they must strongly consider.
Make sure you check back each day for another set of exit interviews. If you have missed any of the previous articles, they are listed here:
Broderick Jones & Chuks Okorafor
Joey Porter Jr. & Levi Wallace
Keeanu Benton & Montravius Adams
Darnell Washington & Rodney Williams
Nick Herbig & Markus Golden
Cory Trice Jr. & James Pierre
Spencer Anderson & Dylan Cook
Kenny Pickett & Mason Rudolph
George Pickens & Miles Boykin
DeMarvin Leal & Armon Watts
Calvin Austin III & Allen Robinson
Connor Heyward & Godwin Igwebuike
Mark Robinson & Blake Martinez
Najee Harris & Jaylen Warren
Pat Freiermuth & Diontae Johnson
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